Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


Our senior retirement years are not the beginning of the end; it’s a time for renewed purpose and new challenges to leave a positive legacy. This episode dives headfirst into the powerful and transformative third chapter of life. Irene Weinberg takes us inside the book, Good to the Last Drop! Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter, a collaboration inspired by messages from loved ones on the other side, urging us to find renewed purpose and leave a positive legacy. Irene shares a personal story from the book about celebrating life after death, and we hear from inspiring contributors like Casey Gauntt, who received a life-changing letter from his father, and Angela Clement, who found hope after the loss of her husband. We also have Shirley Lyster, who shares about the power of being heard and witnessed in one’s grief; Yvonne Heath, on loving her life to death; Mark Ireland, who talks about healing grief; and Ellie Pechet, discussing how to develop compassion through trauma. Join us as we explore the power of sharing grief, the beauty of reinvention, and how to live your best life, even in the face of loss. It’s time to turn your grief into a powerful force for good.



  • The third chapter of life is a time for renewed purpose
  • Death does not touch love
  • Our grief journey is uniquely designed for our healing
  • People share the need for their grief to be witnessed
  • Helping others provide healing

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Celebrating the Release of Good to the Last Drop! Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter │ Part 1






Hi, my esteemed contributors to Good To The Last Drop. First, I want each of you to know how deeply appreciative I am for your wonderful, inspiring, heartfelt chapter contributions to Good To The Last Drop, Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter. It feels like I’m welcoming family today to greet Casey, Yvonne, and Ellie because I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing each of you on the Grief and Rebirth podcast. You each are very special and remarkable.

I’m truly honored to know you and thank you once again. Angela, thank you for inviting me to speak at your Awaken Your Souls Journey Summit. It was an honor and a pleasure. Surely, when you said in your chapter, Witnessed, that you made a conscious decision to get back to the present after your son Cam’s illness and death. I am so grateful that your presence includes being a part of this launch for Good To The Last Drop.

Thank you from my heart for your riveting chapters in Good To The Last Drop. Did you ever think that you’d one day be contributing to an important book about life’s third chapter in your third chapter of life? Now, a huge heartfelt welcome to the cherished members of my popular international award-winning Grief and Rebirth podcast audience. What a pleasure it is to introduce the wonderful contributors to Good To The Last Drop, Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter to each of you.

Third Chapter Of Life

It is such a joy to have you all here. Many of you are probably thinking, “What is this important third chapter of life that Irene is talking about?” Many researchers and authors have explored and discussed life from the perspective of three distinct chapters in life. The following generally encompasses our three chapters.

Chapter one of our lives is our youth and formative years. Chapter two of our lives comprises our adult years, usually filled with work, family, and community. Chapter three, which is the focus of Good To The Last Drop, encompasses our senior retirement years. Some people in their third chapter think of it as the beginning of the end, rather than a time to find renewed purpose and seek out new challenges to leave a positive legacy.


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


Yet others find a way to move forward despite challenges, to continue making a difference, and to contribute to personal, community, and social well-being. The idea to share the inspiring and uplifting third chapter stories featured in Good To The Last Drop was channeled to me from loved ones on the other side whose love, guidance, and support are always with me as I continue to live my best life in my third chapter through my podcast, website, videos, books, and more.

As the wonderful thought-provoking writers who you will soon hear from began submitting their chapters for Good To The Last Drop, their stories seemed to naturally form themselves into three distinct segments. We called part one, Grief and Rebirth. Part two is entitled, Embracing Life, Reinvention, and New Purpose. Part three is titled, Living Your Best Life.

In the first segment, called Grief and Rebirth, which we are focusing on today, you’ll read the compelling stories of several authors, me included, whose lives were rocked to the core and transformed by life-changing events. Each of my esteemed Grief and Rebirth segment contributors is going to introduce him or herself to you, share a third-chapter tip or reflection learned to date, and read an inspiring excerpt from their chapter to you.

My Celebration Of Life

First, since my chapter titled, My Celebration of Life is in this grief and rebirth segment, it is truly my pleasure to begin this very special book launch by sharing my third chapter reflection and excerpt with all of you. When I reflect on the third chapter I am now living, I realize that I now see grief and aging in a new light as a call to life and living.

The worst of times we have lived through in chapters one and two of our lives can, with the help of effective approaches to healing, support, care, and encouragement, be transformed into a hopeful and positive future filled with new joy, fulfillment, and meaning in life which leads to a renewed sense of passion and purpose. Instead of dreading your unavoidable third chapter, we can embrace it and leave an inspiring and uplifting legacy to those who will follow us.

Instead of dreading your unavoidable third chapter, we can embrace it and leave an inspiring, uplifting legacy to those who will follow us. Share on X

Here comes my excerpt titled, My Celebration of Life. A long-time friend recently said that she is sure my family will give me the traditional Jewish memorial service, but she’d love it if there was also a celebration of my very full and colorful life after the traditional memorial service. She wants to deliver an irreverent and fun eulogy about me. When I mentioned this to another friend, she chimed in, “I want to eulogize you next.”

I’ve been friends with Laura and Betty for over twenty years. We all love celebrating life and I love giving parties. One day I felt inspired, started thinking about what kind of party I would plan and I went for it. At some point, I mentioned the party and eulogy idea to my son and he said, “Mom, if you create it, it will be done.”

Now, I am having great fun creating a party that will be a celebration of my life after my bodily demise. I think it will be a great way for my grandsons to know more about their Gaga and maybe even tell some stories of their own. It will be in every sense of the word a graduation party as I transition from my earthly life to the next stage of my evolution.

My challenging life has taught me many important lessons. I consider it my graduation party from this challenging school called life. For now, I’m busy engaging with life and living through my interviews with people from all walks of life who have overcome trauma, tragedy, and grief, and who have found new passion and purpose as they grow into their third chapter.

Someone said that retirement is not about stopping, it’s about shifting gears so you keep moving forward. I can certainly not only live with that, but I’m embracing it. Now, it is time to turn this fun fab book launch over to my incredibly wonderful and highly competent assistant, J. Dean Stout Williams. Her friendship and professionalism mean the world to me. As we continue to navigate the podcast, book, and social media landscape from our respective bases in New Jersey and Barletta, Italy. Jaydeen, take it away.

The Letter

For our wonderful audience or if you’re watching over on YouTube, we’re now going to turn it over to our contributing authors to introduce their chapters, and a bit about themselves, and also give us their inspiring tips for their third chapter of life. First up, we have Casey Gauntt with his chapter, The Letter.

Thank you so much. Irene, it is such a privilege and honor to be part of this wonderful book. Thank you for pulling this together. I thank all of the contributors. My golf buddies and I like to say that we’re on the back nine and hoping for a playoff, but I like the third chapter better. I think that’s a much more appropriate way to refer to the stage of life we’re in right now.

I have to say that in the first two chapters of my life, I flunked grief and empathy. I’ll give you an example. When the six-year-old son of my long-term dentist accidentally was killed, what did I do? I found a new dentist. When the seventeen-year-old son of my physician died by suicide, I was a little better. I didn’t leave him, but I never talked to him about it even though my father had died by suicide in 1970 when I was twenty years old. How did I deal with his death? I didn’t. I ran as far and as fast away from his memory as I possibly could. I dealt with him by forgetting him, and then in August of 2008, our 24-year-old son, Jimmy, was accidentally struck and killed by an automobile while walking home from a party.

Everything crashed in and crashed in on me. Not only did I have to deal with and confront the loss of my superstar son, but my dad’s death came flooding in. Thirty-eight years of repressed grief erupted, so I had to deal with his death as well which I had never done before. I knew I needed help. Six weeks after our son died, I began meeting with Dr. Ray, my psychologist here in San Diego.

In the first session, he told me that we have to deal with my father’s death before we can even start with Jimmy. “Let’s get to work.” Six weeks into treatment where I’m talking about my father and his suicide and what it did to me and my family, I’d never talked about this before, the universe stepped in with my first miracle.

My chapter, The Letter, is the story of that miracle and the beginning of my rebirth at the age of 58, when I transformed from a recovering hard-charging corporate attorney for over 40 years, into a writer, a grief advisor, an empath, and a historian. It all started in the summer of 1968 when I was working on a construction job in West Virginia, a strange place for an 18-year-old Chicago boy to be.

It was there and that time that my father wrote me a letter. I never got it. Forty years later, three months after our son was killed, I got a call from a woman named Emily Buckberry from West Virginia. She said that at the end of my summer in Colwood, she had found a letter that my father had written to me. She decided to keep it and give it back to me as soon as she could, but it was only now, 40 years later, that she picked up the phone and said, “I’ve got this letter, would you like to have it?” I’ll now read an excerpt from my chapter and this is four days after I received that call from Emily Buckberry.

“On the Saturday after Emily’s call, my wife Hillary and I went with our daughter Brittany, her husband Ryan, and my mother to Delmar Beach. Brittany and I paddled past the surf line on boogie boards and spread some of Jimmy’s ashes. Around 3:00, Mom wanted to go home while the others stayed at the beach. I dropped Mom off and decided to swing by her house and check the mail. Inside the box was a priority mail package from Emily.”

“What could be in it? Would it bring back even more terrible memories to see my father’s handwriting, knowing that he had only two short years to live before leaving us forever? At last, I tore the strip of the package and pulled out the case foundation envelope. It was postmarked on June 19, 1968. I drew out the letter. Dad’s neat handwriting spread across both sides of the page. Phrases jumped out at me.”

“‘We have lost a lot of time on the job, leadership is a big factor and a good contract, but it doesn’t cover its stupidity. Your leadership qualities might be contagious.’ More phrases. He revealed a depression in his youth, his insecurity, his religious zealot of a mother, and a war that changed him. ‘I’m not going to preach to you. Should you want an ask for my advice, I’ll give it. Don’t expect you to follow it blindly. Only you control your destiny.’”

“Nothing in that letter was familiar to me. I looked at the envelope. It was in pristine condition. It had been steamed open. I always tear the topper side of an envelope to get to a letter, always. That letter never got to me that summer in Colwood. My father closed his letter with this, ‘I’ll be around anytime you want me. I’ll be there because I care more than you’ll ever know. My son all of dad.’”

“My body shook with sobs. I felt Jimmy and my dad in the kitchen with me. What I didn’t mention is that Saturday, the day the letter finally arrived in my hands, was Jimmy’s 25th birthday. His letter arrived on my son’s birthday. My father knew that was going to be the toughest day of my life and he was here with me as he had promised.”

That letter arriving on the day it did was immediately life-changing. Not only did I realize that my father never stopped loving me but he had been watching over me as he had been watching over my son, his grandson. He taught me death does not touch love and more importantly, when someone we deeply love dies and transitions, they take a big part of us with them but that’s okay because that is what forms the bridge that keeps us connected.


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


That bridge allows messages and thoughts to be shared on both sides. That bridge allows them to help us with healing here, but it also allows us to help them with their healing. Yes, it works both ways. If we have a relationship like I had with my father that I thought was irrevocably broken, that bridge allows us and allows me to heal that relationship. It allowed me to help my father over there to continue with his journey and I am forever grateful to my dad for being the kick in the pants that began my rebirth and has opened up this beautiful third chapter in my life of helping others suffer less. Thank you.

Awakening Through Grief

Thank you so much for sharing that Casey. Now we are moving on to Angela Clement with her chapter Awakening Through Grief.

I just want to start by thanking Irene for this opportunity. I’m grateful. My message to people is that collaboration and opportunities like this are very important, especially in grief, because the messages that we get from others can catapult us into this transformation that we would have never been able to do on our own.


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


My story starts with the loss of my husband. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2021. You never expect these things to happen to you. It’s like a shocking thing when it comes into your world. I had no idea what to do and where to turn. There was this message on Facebook. It was from a lady by the name of Julie Clough. It read, “People will tell you that you will grieve for a lifetime. I choose otherwise. I choose the path from hurt to hope to healing every day.”

When I saw that message, it changed my life, mostly because it gave me hope. I had a lot of messages about grief being something that you learn to carry, something that you will take with you, but you will learn to live with it. That message told me that there was more and that I wouldn’t have to just carry the grief. That I would still be able to live a life with joy, fulfillment, and happiness.



When I was growing up, I remember we were always so competitive. We were always comparing each other. Through this experience, I have learned that it’s about coming together. It’s about working together and having those messages come through each other, for each other. That particular message changed my life.

I know that this book and the messages inside of it are divinely guided, as Irene said, she was guided to create this book. There are messages in here for the reader that are divinely created just for you. In reading this book, I know that there are going to be lots of gems in there for you. Just be open to receiving some of these wonderful messages. I want to read a little excerpt from my book.

“Many people wonder how I’ve been able to move forward from my grief. It did not start easy, but little by little I found my way. Refusing to believe what so many say about grieving for a lifetime, I followed my heart and let it guide me through the healing process. I found a quote on Facebook and it made all the difference. One never knows what small message is going to make all the difference in this healing journey. This resonated with me for one big reason. I was looking for hope. I’ve learned to help others find hope. I’ve learned to help others find hope, heart opening to purpose and expansion, and live a passionate, joyful, and purposeful life.”

“I credit Blaine and my guides for connecting me with the ideal healers, teachers, and support. All I needed to do was be brave enough to say yes to it all. It became an opportunity for me to awaken to who I truly am and discover my purpose here in this life. I experienced challenging days where I thought I wouldn’t survive but I learned to let the waves of grief wash over me.”

“I believe our grief journey is uniquely and beautifully designed for our healing. If we look at grief as a helpful friend for healing rather than something to be avoided, it will show us the way back to joy and happiness. Through the loss of my husband, devastating as that was, I have begun a journey to find myself. The Angela I am now was not possible before. I am taking what I have learned from my beautiful loving life with Blaine and using it to propel me forward into this new life.”

“No matter where life takes me, I know he is right here with me every step of the way. He is cheering me on and loving me still. I feel his essence all around me. It is a special relationship, uniquely ours, that continues until the end of time because a love like this never dies. I cherish all the beauty and magic from my memories, and they fuel me to become more and more who I am ultimately here to be. My future is full of possibility, nourished by my past.”

I just want to say that the experience of losing my husband led me down this path of sharing my story and sharing other people’s stories like Irene’s and Casey’s, what a beautiful story. These stories are what help others be inspired and motivated and help them to carry on in their journey, find their gifts, and find their way. This is a beautiful opportunity for everyone. Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of it. I am so delighted to be with these esteemed writers. Thank you so much.

Thank you, Angela. That was wonderful. Thank you so much.


Moving on, we have Shirley Lyster.

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for including me in this esteemed group of writers. I feel so privileged to be a part of this chapter with these people and also a part of your book, Irene. Thank you so much. I’m a Mom of two sons and the author of a book regarding the multitude of signs that appeared after my youngest son’s bodily death.

This has made me delve into learning and growing more spiritually as it seems to have done with the previous speakers. It has helped so much with the grief that I felt after. Now my chapter is entitled Witness, and you’re going to notice that this ties a lot of what you’re talking about together. It’s based on the need of the grieving and the traumatized to be seen and heard.

That’s why first responders get debriefed. They need to share that and get their stories out so they can make sense of the chaos they’ve just been involved in. Too many times, the grieving and the traumatized are silenced too soon because the general population thinks it’s time to move on or get over it. I found a quote, and this was after I’d written the chapter.

I’m thrilled that Grief expert David Kessler agrees with me. He said, “Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint but what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn’t mean needing someone to lessen it or reframe it for them.


The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.”

What he’s saying is that we need to listen without judgment, as many times as a story needs to be told, regardless of how long it’s been. It’s easy to find listeners in that early stage because, in the initial aftershock, everybody around you is also grieving and shocked. They’re sympathetic to your story. You get the most support in those first few weeks and months, but then after a while the general population begins to feel that it’s it’s time to move on and be done and over it. The support dwindles and they begin to change the subject or just plain ask you to stop talking about it.

We’re even hard on ourselves because we’ve bought into that. We think maybe we’re being too weak or we’re being needy or maybe there’s something mentally wrong with ourselves for needing to tell that story even after time has gone past. Other people don’t have the immediacy of our loss. For us, it’s every day. We live in it but for them, they relegate it quickly into the past. For context, I’ve chosen to start with a short reading of the introduction of my chapter Witness.

“There is great truth to the concept that telling your story over and over is a way to process and understand events that don’t make any sense when they happen. The pieces are everywhere when your world explodes, and it is in speaking out loud that you call those shards back and put them into a semblance of order. Your story and you evolve over time and retelling.”

“The greatest gift that can be given is to be witnessed in your grief as you puzzle out the story. It gives the sense that you and your story are heard. Being seen as you truly are in those moments of pain and suffering allows you to begin to comprehend the unimaginable that has happened to you. There are two parts to my unimaginable, chronic illness and death.”



“Mom, there’s blood when I go to the bathroom. One event can change the course of your entire life. It was a beautiful June day in 2016, and my youngest son, Cam, was home for a visit. He’d gone across the country to attend college. While there, he began working as an Army reservist. He loved the military life so much that he’d left college to work full-time for them. This visit was his last free time before he went to basic training and began his military career in earnest.”

“We were on a road trip, our favorite thing to do together. The music had been played and we’d done our catching up. The car had always been an intimate space for my sons to talk to me and he chose that time to drop this bombshell. He promised me that if it were still happening after basic, he’d see a doctor, but he didn’t have time to do it before. It’s come to me now that he didn’t want anything health-related to affect his chances with the military.”

“Fast forward to the beginning of December, the bleeding and other symptoms had intensified and his doctor ordered a colonoscopy. The procedure confirmed that he had developed pancolitis, the most severe form of ulcerative colitis. It is the inflammation of the entire large intestine due to an autoimmune response to intact the intestinal lining. His guts were seen as the enemy by his body.”

“Symptoms can range from blood and mucus in the stool to severe fatigue, excessive urges to vacate the bowels, anemia, and a host of other symptoms that vary from person to person. There’s no cause and there’s no cure. As with all autoimmune diseases, nothing works for everyone. It’s a long course of trying various medications with the hope that the next one will be the magic bullet that makes the bleeding stop and the pain go away.”

“Our family had been extremely fortunate in that none of us had ever been sick or hospitalized. We knew nothing of the toll a severe diagnosis takes on a person and the people around them. Ulcerative colitis wasn’t in our world and all of us were ignorant of the severity of the diagnosis. This was our crash course into the world of chronic illness.”

Christopher Reeve said, “The one minority anyone can become part of in an instant is a disability.” I felt that. It rocks your world. After his diagnosis, my storytelling involved this disease. Talking about it helped to sort out all the complexities of having a debilitating chronic illness suddenly diagnosed in my immediate family.

After his death, three short months later, I was still trying to sort out the disease along with mourning. I found grieving parent groups online to share stories and the Crohn’s and colitis boards I joined to understand his disease also supported me in his loss. They are the people who know best how serious it is and live with the knowledge that this could happen to any of them. The best thing I did though, was become involved with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

They took me under their wing and with their guidance, I did a national interview, along with sharing Cam’s story in a national mail-out fundraiser Blitz. In November, World IBD Awareness Month, important buildings in major cities around the world are lit up in red for diseases. The Edmonton Chapter lit the high-level bridge and dedicated our walk to Cam’s memory.

It’s validating that the worst thing that can ever happen to you is seen and understood. It isn’t always accepted though. I was to be interviewed that November on the local newscast about the seriousness of inflammatory bowel diseases but at the last minute, the producers changed their mind because my story was too sad. It was not a feel-good or uplifting story to begin the holiday season.

A woman with Crohn’s who was overcoming her disease to live her best life was the storyline they chose over Cam’s. Now, I’m in my last third, I am the one who walks toward grieving parents rather than running the other way. I encourage stories about their loved ones and listen, as Mr. Kessler advised, I don’t point out silver linings because I know there aren’t any. I’m more tolerant and compassionate than I was before and much less judgmental.

Now, I give people the benefit of the doubt because we don’t know what others are going through. It used to be that my reason for fundraising and speaking of the diseases was I didn’t want this to happen to other parents. You hear that from grieving parents who are advocating for whatever it was that took their child’s life, whether it was a drunk driver, a disease, or another person. Now, I tell Cam’s story because it is his story.

Give people the benefit of the doubt because we don't know what others are going through. Share on X

Sharing it over and over has helped my healing and understanding of the place it had in shaping who I am today. It’s made me a spiritual person, which I wasn’t at all before. With Cam’s guidance, I’ve written a book and now this chapter to reach people who are where I was and to show them there is a way out of the darkness. We are not weak or needy for wanting or needing to talk about them.

Humans have used stories for millennia to understand their world. It’s just more difficult in the 21st century, and we have to find ways to connect and storytell. In conclusion, I’ll quote Michael J. Fox, “I will not make a difference in their lives, but hopefully activate them to make a difference in theirs.” Thank you.

That’s wonderful, Shirley. Thank you so much.

Decades Of Learning To Love My Life To Death

Next up, we have Yvonne Heath presenting her chapter, Decades of Learning To Love My Life To Death.

Thank you so much. You are my kindred spirits here all around. I’m so emotional. I don’t know how it is in the States, but as Canadians, we always apologize for crying. Like if somebody died, we’re like, “I’m sorry, I’m crying.” If I cry, I’m not apologizing, thank you very much, because this is heartwarming and heart-wrenching.

It’s both. It’s grief and it’s joy and it’s a hot mess sometimes. We have to learn to be okay with the hot mess. Every one of your stories, I am relating to and hearing with my heart because I was a nurse for 27 years. I worked in a clinic where we gave medication for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Shirley touched my heart.

I worked in an emergency where people were in accidents and came in. Many survived and many didn’t. Angela, Casey, you’re touching my heart, and my husband is a paramedic. A lot of people say we’re The Death Couple, but I say we’re Living Life to the Fullest Couple and embracing life and death and everything in between. Interestingly, you’re sharing about your journey with your sons and my journey with my son.

People talk about lived experience, I am talking about living experience because we’re still in it. My chapter, Learning To Love Your Life To Death, is like decades of it. Weren’t we so hard on ourselves all the time and every decade? If we did ten things right and one thing wrong, we talked about that wrong thing. When I think of my 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, I am so glad to be over that. I am so over it. I am flawed, imperfect, and fabulous.

To look back and say, “Look at all those experiences that led me to exactly where I am today.” Right here, right now with all of you is a beautiful place to be. I am grateful and honored to be here. It’s funny because my whole thing is about being proactive, practicing, and teaching by example. No matter what, people who are grieving are like, “Yvonne is a grief counselor.” No, I want to be a proactive living consultant.

Let’s talk about it before. Let’s support each other when, before, during, and always. Let’s have these conversations and normalize these conversations. In my 27-year nursing career, that was not the case. The greatest thing that we can do and what everyone here is doing is to be the evidence that someone’s life made a difference. I shared that in my TED talk. I continue to learn, unlearn, and evolve. I chose the excerpt in my 40s and then I’ll share a little bit about why as my lovely journey with my wonderful son Tyler continues.

As I tell people, the people who challenge us the most are our greatest teachers, aren’t they? I say to Ty, “Guess who my greatest teacher is?” He says, “Who, mom?” I said, “I’m speaking to him right now.” He’s like, “Yes, true.” He continues to teach me. I’d like to not learn anything today from him. Thank you very much but anyway, we’ll go on.

The people who challenge us the most are our greatest teachers. Share on X

“In my 40s. Twenty days before my 40th birthday, I delivered our twins, Jaden and Tanner. It’s the most frightening, amazing, and fulfilling time. From the past fragments and fractures, I created a whole new life. My family was finally complete. The Heath Family Five. Life was good. I was a nurse in the chemotherapy clinic, married to my soulmate with three children living in beautiful Muskoka, Canada. We were happy until we weren’t.”

“Tyler had many challenges, abandoned by his biological father, our years of being on our own, struggles in school with ADHD, like his mom, and bullies. His outlight and passion was snowboarding, but a serious knee injury landed him on the sidelines in pain. This was his breaking point. He was crushed and spiraled down a dangerous world of alcohol and drugs.”

“Watching helplessly nearly destroyed me. See, here comes a little choked-up here. We sought help everywhere we could and eventually admitted him to a rehabilitation center. Now this was 12 years ago, PS, or even more. Imagine the anguish I felt as a mom. My soul throbbed. He said we saved his life. It was a long journey. After rehab, Ty seemed to be in a better place. He eventually settled in Kelowna, British Columbia, surrounded by mountains.”

“He’s still on that roller coaster and we support him in every way we can. On this devastating path of painful realization, some people were there for us, while many disappeared in our time of crisis when we needed them most. I also felt obligated to be strong, handle it, pretend I was fine when I wasn’t, and check my personal life at the door when I went to work in the hospital where ironically we take care of people.“

“I shouldn’t make other people feel uncomfortable, right? This added to my suffering and feeling isolated. I couldn’t imagine at the time it would be a catalyst for a life-changing movement. I became more anxious in a society that didn’t allow for hard conversations. I asked other healthcare professionals, ‘Are we well prepared for grief, death, and dying?’ The response is, ‘No, we’re terrible at it.’ Off they went. I wondered who is teaching communities and professionals to normalize these conversations throughout life. Nobody.”

“One day I saw a pop-up on Facebook on how to write a bestselling book, and it knocked me out of my chair. That was it. I was going to leave my 27-year nursing career and write a book. With no experience or know-how, that is just what I did. It wasn’t a logical decision, but I didn’t have a choice. Passion and purpose were now in the driver’s seat. I was just along for the ride.”

“A few lessons learned back then as I continued to learn and learn and evolve. No matter how hard we try or how much we want to, we cannot control anyone but ourselves. Some have harder journeys than others. Don’t get stuck on why. When people don’t know what to do and they don’t know what to say, they often avoid, being afraid to do or say the wrong thing and make it worse. Sometimes when we discover a problem and look for someone to help with the solution, the only person we find is in the mirror. Listen to your inner wisdom. It knows the way.”


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


When I reflect on that, I have to always find the humor in things because that is what keeps me going besides my fun colored shirts. In September 2023, we drove our twins who are now nineteen to university. We were so excited about our empty nest, finally after 30 years of parenting. Two weeks later, we got a call that our son was spiraling into British Columbia with drugs and addiction all these years later. None of that was on my vision board. None of this is on our vision board.

It was heartwarming and heart-wrenching. Heartwarming because we hopped on a plane and we moved him home. Gutting because we cannot control him but I realized in looking back, on all the lessons that I’ve learned, I need to allow my grief and my joy. I wrote my book, Love Your Life to Death because people were avoiding us and my Ted talk.

I created the I Just Showed Up Movement teaching people how to just show up for themselves and others so they are empowered and resilient when grief arrives. To know that we don’t know what to do and we don’t know what to say, the magic answer is always just show up. I unapologetically shared our journey with my son in my Ted Talk as well.

Here we are on this roller coaster hanging on in the dips and curves. I continue to just show up with heart humor and humaneness. I allow my grief. I do not try to fix it. I don’t try to fix anyone else. I acknowledge and allow my tears, my story, because it is in sharing our stories that we heal ourselves and each other. I am privileged to be here right now.

This is a beautiful moment filling my bucket because I’m the only one that can make me happy. I am delighted that I was able to just show up and I thank you, Irene. Thank you, everyone, for just showing up and helping me just by being my kindred spirits, because I know we can make a difference and we can find joy again and allow grief and joy to coexist. Thank you.

The Five Pillars Of Healing Grief

Very well said. Thank you, Yvonne. With his chapter, The Five Pillars of Healing Grief, we have Mark Ireland.

Hello. I’m the author of Soul Shift, Finding Where the Dead Go, and more recently, The Persistence of the Soul. I’m also the co-founder of Helping Parents Heal, an organization with 26,000 members, 165 affiliate chapters, and an organization that hosts a conference every other year that draws about a thousand people. We are in the business of helping people who have had children pass to find a way to move forward in their lives and not just survive but to have joy once again.

My background is a little bit unusual in that I grew up with a father who was a minister and a psychic medium. He demonstrated these abilities in his church, but also in public demonstrations. From a young age, I not only saw the psychic phenomena and was impressed with it and proud of my father and his work, but I also saw the mediumship messages come through that were highly specific and people recognized. People were touched deeply, I could tell, when they got these messages that mentioned names of people who had passed and the nature of the relationship with the surviving folks.

Growing up with that background was very helpful for me. Even though I didn’t follow in my father’s footsteps, I took a more traditional path and got a college degree, got married early, and went into the business world and did well there. It was the unexpected passing of my youngest son, Brandon, when he was eighteen years old that drew me back into my father’s work and started my journey down that path of discovery about the meaning of why we’re here and what happens when we leave this world.

What I’ve written the chapter for this particular book about is entitled The Five Pillars of Healing Grief and it has to do with the things I’ve observed since the inception of Helping Parents Heal, where people would come in in a very despondent manner, very down and depressed. Yet, after some time, found actual significant progress in their healing. From that, I’ve observed certain things that happened that were helpful in their healing process. What I’d do now is read some excerpts from the book, particularly about the five pillars of healing.

“The first pillar is support from family and friends. Not everyone has the luxury of a supporting family and group of friends, but when one does it can be very helpful. Oftentimes, people close to the grieving parent won’t know what to do or say. They may offer platitudes that aren’t helpful. Friends and family may also be uncomfortable talking about the child who passed and will sometimes try to change subjects or avoid the topic altogether. Most parents I know in this situation want to talk about their child and they find such discussions helpful and healing. Family members need to understand what the bereaved parent needs and wants during this time so they can provide support in the best manner possible.”

“The second pillar is meeting other people who’ve experienced the passing of a child as well. Getting to know and befriending others who have been through the same thing can be very helpful. They can fully relate to you because they experienced the same thing and understand what it feels like. Such relationships allow people to provide mutual support to each other. Helping Parents Heal provides an opportunity for parents who’ve had a child pass to meet others in the same situation through in-person meetings and conferences. This would apply to people who had a spouse pass, sibling pass, or any other loved one.”

“The third pillar is service. When a person is ready, they should consider doing something positive that is of service to others. This could be working at a soup kitchen, donating time to a non-profit organization, setting up a foundation to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, establishing an HPH affiliate chapter, helping parents heal, or anything else constituting service to others. When you help others, it comes back to you and it provides healing.”


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


“The fourth pillar is a tough one for a lot of people to get through, and that is the release of guilt and learning to forgive. Many parents blame themselves in some way for the passing of their child. They will think or say, “I should have done this. I should have done that. I should have seen the signs.” The reality is that most of these parents bear no responsibility for the passing of their child and couldn’t have changed the outcome.”

“They need to let go of the what-if kind of thinking and release self-imposed guilt. Likewise, some parents harbor deep anger toward another person who may, in some way, be responsible for the passing of their child. Whether an accident or something else, it’s not easy to forgive, but the person who is hurt the most is the one choosing not to forgive.”

“The fifth and final pillar is what differentiates helping parents heal from all other groups of bereaved parents. That is openness to afterlife evidence. We allow the open discussion of spiritual experiences and afterlife evidence. People don’t have to bottle that up. They want to share their stories and we allow that.”

Openness to afterlife evidence might start for some folks by reading books about near-death experiences. Mediumship, like my books, deathbed visions, and other phenomena provides evidence of life after physical death. That’s a good way for people to start who have no familiarity with the evidence. You can also consider learning meditation techniques to facilitate a direct connection with the child of the past, or possibly booking a reading from a vetted evidential medium.

This evidence is the hope element that differentiates HPH from other organizations of its type. In terms of finding resources, for the last ten years, I’ve been running a medium certification program where I test applicant mediums under controlled conditions. They have to conduct five blinded readings by Zoom with no video for people they don’t know, and they’re not informed who they’re going to be reading for, and they have to generate statistically significant results to pass.

If anyone is looking for that resource, they can find a link to it on my site which is There, you’ll find links to demonstrations done by my father back in 1971 on the Steve Allen show. You might find that entertaining. Also, a link to the Helping Parents Heal website and a link to the mediumship certification website, as well as other media appearances and articles and things that I have on my site on the media page. Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time to tune in to this and I hope you enjoyed the book and I hope you like my chapter.

Developing Compassion Through Trauma

Last, we have Ellie Pechet with her chapter titled Developing Compassion Through Trauma. Take it away, Ellie.

Thank you, Jaydeen, and thank you, Irene, for inviting me to contribute a chapter to this very important book. I think it’s going to lift not just the spirits but it will speak to many people whose hands find the book and who read it. There are so many wonderful stories about real people with authentic life experiences, and how we’ve all handled them to use them for good. Isn’t that what we’re all here for? To do good and to leave a legacy of having done good deeds.

I’d like to read the first part of my chapter and then the latter part. Again, the title is Developing Compassion Through Trauma. When I was first asked to contribute a submission to Good To The Last Drop, I wondered how I was going to be able to formulate it into words, my vast experiences of pain turned into growth. It seemed like a daunting task, but one I am being guided to do as an inspiration to others who will hopefully be inspired to keep going, no matter how challenging life can be at times.

Everyone has had their stories of pain and struggle. It’s part of the human experience. I would say that the best thing to assume is that others have struggled and have had pain and life is fragile. People are fragile. To extend kindness is the best thing that we can do initially before we even know the people we encounter. In a nutshell, my parents grew up during the Holocaust in Romania. As we all know, it was an extremely dark time and they were heavily influenced by their experiences.



They brought that darkness with them to the United States when they immigrated. As I re-remembered it eventually before I incarnated this lifetime, my mission was to bring light into this family of darkness. It was a daunting task and I felt like my light was almost snuffed out, but eventually, I overcame what I experienced growing up. The result was that I developed a very deep sense of compassion for others when they are suffering. It’s what led to my career as a remote healer and metaphysician. I’d like to read part of my chapter. I’d like to start here.

“As I ventured forward on my path of healing my past by way of counseling, spiritual growth, and energy healing. I realized the combination of all three resonated deeply for me. Eventually, those three approaches evolved into the remote healing practice I offer my clients to this day. The spiritual side of things has always made so much sense to me, not only for my journey, but it has always been a big part of my approach to my clients.”

“Look at it this way. In this current life, there is the little us in the here and now experiencing, reacting, or responding to what happens in our lives. There is also the big us, complex and expansive. It goes beyond this current life and includes all of our past lives. I believe that the older the soul is, the more advanced and the more difficult the lessons tend to become.”

“When we are willing to swim with the current of our soul’s journey, it helps our soul advance. If we lean in into the lessons we are assigned in this life, as uncomfortable as they usually are, we reap the benefits and rewards of knowing we are on track, not only by growing as a human and as a soul but also with our mission here on the Earth plane.”


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


“Some people go through their entire lives wondering what their calling is and searching for it, trying different vocations. I am glad to have found my calling this time around early on in my twenties because I’ve been able to help so many people over the decades. That brings me great joy. In recent years, my healing abilities have accelerated and part of my calling has developed into extending my remote healing practice by helping specific groups of wildlife, as I feel called intuitively.”

“Some wildlife groups I’ve worked with remotely have included elephants in Africa, numerous groups of wildlife affected by the wildfires in Australia in recent years, and whales in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. I have also done specific cleaning sessions for our oceans, all of which are recorded in journals with each healing.”

“I do my best to maintain a sense of balance while helping human and pet clients, as well as wildlife projects I’m called to do. Although up to now I continue to do remote work with wildlife and don’t get paid for it, it is my hope and vision that the importance of this aspect of my work will be recognized and that there will be those individuals who want to financially support this branch of my work.”

“By transitioning from my own experience of being victimized during my upbringing, to creating and living a fulfilling life on purpose with my calling, I want to share with those who are reading my story and may still be suffering that even though it might seem insurmountable at times to transcend the pain and grief, it is doable.”

“Here’s to your personal healing on the human level, along with your growth and evolution as a soul. No matter what you have experienced and no matter how much pain you have suffered or are still suffering, know that you are loved, you are lovable, and your healing can happen much more quickly than you realize.” I’d like to stop there and thank you again for having me contribute a chapter, Irene. I’m here to serve. I’m grateful if my story can help contribute to other people’s healing.


I think it’s wonderful. Thank you so much, Ellie. The bottom line for all of us is that our third chapter if we can continue to heal and move forward, can have a lot of meaning not only in our lives but for the lives of all we touch. I think that all of you are so wonderful. I have so much gratitude for all of you being here. I want to thank you for your terrific stories that are so meaningful and will help people. I know people are going to be uplifted, enlightened, and empowered by reading our stories.


Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Casey Gauntt, Angela Clement, Shirley Lyster, Yvonne Heath, Ellie Pechet, Mark Ireland | Good To The Last Drop!


To celebrate the launch of Good To The Last Drop, we’re going to give away 53 copies to enthusiastic readers who are willing to leave an honest review on Amazon after reading. For everyone, entering is easy. Here’s how you do it. Click on the link in the show notes and provide your name, email, and mailing address, and this will allow us to contact you if you are one of the lucky winners.

Once you’ve entered, you’re in the running. We’ll select the first 50 entries as the winners, so don’t wait. If you’re selected, we’ll ship a free copy of Good To The Last Drop straight to you. Dive into Good To The Last Drop, enjoy the read, and then head over to Amazon to share your thoughts with the review. Hurry, the giveaway ends soon. Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on a free copy of Good To The Last Drop and share your feedback on Amazon.

Thank you to each of you wonderful contributors to my new book Good To The Last Drop, Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter, and to the cherished members of the Grief and Rebirth podcast audience, for your love and your support. Enjoy the read. Thank you for spreading the word about Good To The Last Drop and all the third-chapter people in your lives. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.


Guest’s Links:

Love Your Life to Death


  • Angela Clement on



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